Embracing the Many Faces of Love: A Heartfelt Challenge

by General Caregiving, Practical Guidance0 comments

For our family, February brings multiple birthdays, several milestone anniversaries (including Neil’s death in 2015), and of course, Valentine’s Day. But lots of people don’t relish that heart-filled holiday. If you’re grieving someone you love, you probably want to dress in midnight black instead of red. If you aren’t in a romantic relationship, you may want to stay under the covers and ignore the day.

The modern interpretation of Valentine’s Day love is romantic, but it doesn’t have to be. There are multiple kinds of love. Yes, eros, romantic love, is one of them. Neil and I had some awesome February 14ths over the years.

But there is also storge, the familial love between parent and child or siblings. When the girls were home, we always had flowers and valentine’s candy for the whole family.  

Philos is the loving affection between close friends. My best friend usually sends me an e-card to remind me she cares.

Agape is unconditional, selfless love – the kind of love God has for us and that we are called to practice in the world. And I really do mean “practice” because we will never be able to love as totally, completely, and perfectly as God does.

So, what if this year, on Valentine’s Day, we practice agape and use our generous spirits to help someone else?

  1. Think of one person who needs extra loving kindness.
  2. Decide something concrete to improve their day.  It can be as simple as praying with them or as extensive as offering them a meal or a few hours of your time.
  3. It can be anonymous but not secret – they need to know someone thought of them even if they don’t know who the someone is.

What do you think? Up for the challenge? Take a moment today and come up with your plan; you’ll get as much out of it as they do. And I’d love to hear how it goes!

This post originally appeared on Colleen’s personal blog and is reprinted with permission.

Colleen Arnold, MD

Colleen Arnold, MD

Colleen Arnold is a family physician, a widow, and a mother of three young adult daughters. She enjoys hanging out with family, writing, reading, and walking. You can read her blog at ColleenArnold.org.


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